Mus­cat to make late call on Toivo­nen

Sunday Tasmanian - - Sport -

MEL­BOURNE Vic­tory coach Kevin Mus­cat hopes he’ll fi­nally have his full com­ple­ment of A-League im­ports avail­able af­ter the in­ter­na­tional break.

Raul Baena will miss to­day’s match with Cen­tral Coast as his ham­string com­plaint lingers, with striker Ola Toivo­nen a touch-and-go propo­si­tion to make his de­but.

But their ab­sence shouldn’t be the de­ter­min­ing fac­tor against Mike Mul­vey’s side, given Mus­cat’s in­cred­i­ble record against the Mariners.

In 15 meet­ings, Mus­cat’s Vic­tory has never been beaten by the small-town out­fit, even if there’s an ac­knowl­edg­ment that it has im­proved this sea­son.

“They’ve been re­ally good in some games and then dropped away and then re­ally good,” Mus­cat said.

“I sup­pose like ev­ery­body, them in­cluded and us in­cluded, are search­ing for that con­sis­tency.

“I’m look­ing froward to com­ing up against a team that have got some threats. We’re go­ing to have to earn ev­ery­thing we get on Sun­day evening.”

Toivo­nen, 32, swapped solo work this week to train with his team­mates af­ter three weeks out with a lower-leg is­sue.

Mus­cat said he was ea­ger to be in­volved but a call would be made on match day.

“When they get to this point and they turn the cor­ner and they’re on the grass for any length of time, they want to be in­volved,” he said.

“We’re pleased, re­ally pleased at where he is. He’s worked re­ally hard, to be fair to him.

“He was bit­terly dis­ap­pointed to miss the start of the sea­son and he’s put him­self in a po­si­tion where he’s mak­ing us think good and hard about this week­end.”

Of Vic­tory’s other im­ports, Kosta Bar­barouses is a known quan­tity, Ge­org Nie­der­meier looks to have eased into the back­line and then there’s Keisuke Honda.

The Ja­pa­nese mid­fielder has put to­gether three com­posed and in­tel­li­gent dis­plays in mid­field, with Mus­cat say­ing op­po­si­tion at­ten­tion helped play­ers such as Terry An­to­nis and James Troisi flour­ish.

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